Let’s talk about our assumptions, many of them as old as the profession itself. We orthodontists are nothing if not certain that the world truly is what we see though the rose colored glasses – the lenses that we don’t even realize we are wearing! Want some examples? Here you go:

If someone is doing more than me, they must be lying cheating and stealing because I’m doing all that can be reasonably done! They are running a mill!

You can’t have a good relationship with patients if you don’t do it the way I do it and spend the time I spend.

Patients want me to spend an hour talking to them in great detail about their treatment in the new patient exam.

Anyone who starts more cases than me is just greedy and can’t be rendering good treatment and they shouldn’t be so selfish to take more than her fair share.

The less patients you see per day and the less starts you do a year, the better an orthodontist you are. I do all my own work! I would never do “girlodontics”.

The literature says…

So and so is just in it for the money! I know this though I have never been to their practice but I know because they don’t do it like I do.

I’m in the top 1%!

My time is valuable!

I’m not a commodity!

Patients should respect my time… But I run an hour behind EVERY SINGLE DAY and don’t respect anyone else’s time (but that’s different).

Live where you want to live and you’ll figure out how to make a living… My professor who went broke and has to teach for a living told me so and so did the part timer who got out of school 40 years ago and hung a shingle (and is still working because… You guessed it).

You have to give multiple treatment plans for every or you will get sued.

Lawyers are afraid of ceph tracings, plaster models, 3D scans and terribly comprehensive and confusing treatment plans.

Orthodontists have to write in the chart.

What other assumptions did I miss?

Though we try to make it difficult, this stuff is easy! Take good care of people. Be nice. Do the right thing. Don’t do stupid stuff. Stick to what you know. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you unless you’ve got another one lined up. Don’t break the 11th commandment. Stay married. Live and practice in a location that makes business sense. If you mess up, own it and make it right. If you mess up bad enough then you’ll get sued and you deserve to be sued so pay what’s due, be glad you have insurance and don’t sweat it. You won’t intentionally do something that will get you sued anyway so you can’t avoid it (so don’t let fear of liability control you). Take care of patients the way you would take care of your own family. And, of course, do great work. Do these things and you don’t have to worry about making money. To the degree you chase money, you will suffer proportionately.

6 thoughts on “Orthodontic Assumptions

  1. Awesome article! Some other assumptions:

    We’re dentists, we don’t work on Fridays!
    If I take the braces off before a patient is finished paying I won’t get paid.
    I have to collect a large down payment so the patient is committed to treatment.

  2. Spot on.

    Another common one in my neck of the woods: “I’m the doctor, I know what you need, do it my way.”

  3. Not to poke the bear but, hey just for fun:
    “all general dentists suck at doing braces”
    the cost of orthodontic treatment will continue to increase at least at the rate of inflation,
    Only crappy orthodontist advertise
    If their fee is that low they cant provide quality care
    Ben these are very painful to think about. Damn you! Keep at it.

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